Viewing and Navigating Images in Photoshop

Viewing and navigating images are those of essential skills every Photoshop user must learn in order to use efficiently this incredible powerful image editing software. To get started to know all available options first open General section in Preferences dialog (Edit > Preferences > General) and take a look at Options starting with Animated Zoom. For detailed description read for free excerpt from Photoshop CS5 Bible. Take a look and at Interface tab in Preferences dialog where you can set to Open Documents as Tabs and to Enable Floating Document Window Docking in Panels and Documents section.
zoom with scroll wheel
After setting options in Preferences dialog lets take a look at viewing, zooming and navigating options in Photoshop toolbox, panels and menus. In my opinion best option to navigate document is Navigator panel (Window > Navigator) which allows you to zoom in/out and navigate to certain portion of the image. Use slider to zoom image and red rectangle to navigate. Click inside rectangle and drag across Navigator thumbnail preview.
Navigator panel in Adobe Photoshop

Zoom options
Zoom options in Photoshop are available from application bar, View menu, at Status bar (bottom of Photoshop window) from toolbox through Zoom tool and from options bar as buttons when Zoom or Hand tools are selected.

In application bar you can chose Zoom Level preset or to type zoom percentage manually (first select text box content) then press Enter key on your keyboard. You can also type manually zoom percentage in status bar. Tip for status bar is to hold down Shift key while confirming on Enter and image will be displayed in percentage typed in text box with highlighted numbers ready to change them so you can instantly type another percentage number without to select text box in status bar.
From View menu you can magnify the image and see shortcuts on the right side of menu item.
Zoom In from View menu
When Zoom or Hand tool is active you can magnify image using buttons in options bar: Actual Pixels, Fit Screen, Fill Screen, Print Size. There are and some additional options you can turn on: Scroll All Windows when Hand tool is active, Resize Windows To Fit, Zoom All Windows and Scrubby Zoom when Zoom tool is active – read more about those options.
To access Zoom tool at any time regardless of which tool is active press Ctrl + Space to zoom in or Ctrl + Alt + Space to zoom out.

Navigation options
As mentioned above Navigator panel is excellent tool to navigate images but you can navigate and using Hand tool which you can access from toolbox (H) or pressing Space bar at any time regardless of which tool is selected or active. With Hand tool active click on image and drag to the: left, right, bottom or above. Note: this option is available only when image does not fit in window.
Navigate image using Hand tool
To scroll down one screen press PgDown key, to scroll up one screen PgUp key on your keyboard. To jump to the upper left corner of the image press Home key, to jump to the bottom right corner of the image press End key.

Viewing options
As already mentioned above you can set in Preferences dialog (Ps CS4/5) to work with tabbed documents and to Enable Floating Document Window Docking.

In application bar you can choose from Screen Mode drop down list (also from View > Screen Mode):

  • Standard Screen Mode
  • Full Screen Mode With Menu Bar
  • Full Screen Mode (press F twice on keyboard)
Choose screen mode in Adobe Photoshop

On the left side of screen modes is Arrange Documents menu with options to tile images, Float All in Windows, magnify and match zoom and location. To zoom all tiled images select Zoom tool, press Shift on keyboard and click or drag.
To make more room to preview images you can collapse panels to icons by clicking two triangles in the upper right corner of panels dock. You can also use keyboard shortcuts to show/hide panels and tools (Tab) or only panels (Shift + Tab).
Collapse panels in Adobe Photoshop
At the end of tutorial to mention that you can save current position and size of panels as custom workspace and switch to it from the workspace switcher in the Application bar.

Photoshop / Viewing images

Product used in this tutorial: Adobe Photoshop CS5


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